Auburn University wins National Guard FLW College Fishing event on Lake Okeechobee
Team members Peek and Rodgers net $10,000 in scholarships for their victory
CLEWISTON, Fla. – The Auburn University team of Richard Peek of Centre, Ala. and Caleb Rodgers of Auburn, Ala., won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Division tournament on Lake Okeechobee Saturday with six bass weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces. The victory earned the team a $5,000 college scholarship as well as a $5,000 club college scholarship.
“We really didn’t know what to expect when we came to Lake Okeechobee,” Rodgers said. “We made the 11-hour drive from Auburn yesterday and didn’t get any practice time. My partner and I looked at a map this morning and decided that we wanted to work a certain area.”
Rodgers said that after reading reports online and looking at the map, they decided to fish an area that had big grass mats. They fished an area called the Monkey Box that is in the southwest corner of the lake. This area is a large flat with flooded hydrilla.
Rodgers and his partner caught their keepers on a Reaction Innovations swimbait.
“Since we were one of the later flights to check in we thought we had a pretty good chance at winning because the afternoon bite really turned on,” Rodgers said. “When we checked in we saw that the other Auburn team was sitting in first place so we knew it was going to be close. Luckily, my partner had a good kicker that put us on top. It was about a 7-pounder.
“This was a great experience and I can’t wait to fish the next tournament,” Rodgers said.
Rounding out the top five teams are Auburn University – Dennis Parker of Auburn, Ala., and Shaye Baker of Tallassee, Ala. (four bass, 12-14, $2,500 college scholarship, $2,500 club college scholarship); Georgia Southern – Wesley Maples of Statesboro, Ga., and Richard Davis of Suwanee, Ga. (three bass, 11-08, $2,000 college scholarship, $2,000 club college scholarship); University of Florida – Kyle Humphreys of Gainesville, Fla., and Andy Adkins of Gainesville, Fla. (six bass, 11-03, $1,500 college scholarship, $1,500 club college scholarship); UCF – Matthew Norman of Fort Myers, Fla., and Dustin Lauer of Oviedo, Fla. (three bass, 9-10, $1,000 college scholarship, $1,000 club college scholarship);
FLW Outdoors announced the College Fishing trail in May 2008. The entire schedule, which is organized around the five Stren Series Divisions can be found by visiting CollegeFishing.com, along with the rules, requirements and information on how to create a bass club.
Full time students enrolled in four year colleges or universities are eligible to participate in the events. Schools in each division can send two-person teams to each of the four qualifying events in their division, with each event limited to a maximum of 40 teams. Each team will have an opportunity to win $10,000 for first and $2,000 through fifth place. The prize money will be split evenly between the winning team’s club and the school they represent. The tournaments are free to enter, boats and drivers will be provided and all collegiate teams will receive a travel allowance. The top five teams in each of the qualifying events will advance to one of five televised three-day FLW National Guard Regional Championships.
Each school represented in a televised Regional Championship will have team shirts and boats provided by Ranger. The purse for each Regional Championship will be a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha outboard wrapped in school colors for the winning club and $25,000 for the school they represent. Awards of $6,000 will also extend through fifth place for the club and school to split evenly.
The FLW National Guard College Fishing National Championship will be a three-day televised event hosting the top five teams from each regional, 25 total teams. The teams will be provided with team shirts and wrapped Ranger boats towed by Chevy trucks for this competition. The purse for the championship will range from $25,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha outboard wrapped in school colors and $50,000 for the school they represent to $15,000 for fifth, split between the club and school.
The winning team will be declared the FLW National Guard Collegiate National Champion and will qualify for the $2.5 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol in 2010. The winners will also receive use of a wrapped boat and Chevy truck for the Forrest Wood Cup.
Total awards are based on a full field of 40 boats in every tournament.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Player’s Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.